Sunday, March 29, 2009

Comments re:" N&O Still Stonewalling ..." (Post 1)

I want to respond to comments on the thread of N&O Still Stonewalling On Mar. 25, 2006 Duke Frame Story.

Comments or parts thereof are in italics; my responses are in plain.

Anon @ 9:22 - - -

The N&O's strategy of stonewalling has apparently paid off, however — no consequences for a journalistic travesty, for libeling the three falsely accused players or for casting the entire team in a false light.

You're right. There have been no legal consequences so far and I don’t think such are likely in the future.

That’s not to say I don’t think the N&O libeled the lacrosse players; it’s just to describe things as they are and how I think they’ll play out in the future.

But the N&O has paid “a price.” Many readers and advertisers think the less of it because of its Duke lacrosse coverage despite praise extended to the N&O in books such as
Until Proven Innocent, in the American Journalism Review, at Durham-in-Wonderland and by the N&O’s editors themselves.

If as I expect there is discovery in the civil suits brought by victims of the Duke/Durham hoax and frame-up attempt, what will be revealed during discovery will, as I’ve said here before, further hurt the N&O’s reputation and the reputations of a number of its reporters and editors, past and present.

Folks, if you believe NC AG Roy Cooper that there never was any credible evidence of a crime, then you have to answer a question.

It’s this: How was the N&O able over the course of four publications days (Mar. 24-27, 2006) to tell its readers and the world the same false story about “the victim” and the lacrosse players that Nifong told when he began speaking publicly about the case on the afternoon of Mar. 27?

What do journalists have to do to get a story so neatly lined up with Nifong's when there's no evidence for his story/frame-up?

Xutag77 said - - -

I think they get will not get off without consequences. They will be the next target of the players after the Duke case is settled.

Although the statue of limitations for filing a libel suit in NC (one year) has passed as far as when the N&O’s most false and defaming stories were published, there is something called “resetting the clock.”

The “resetting” can come into play, for example, if a person had no way of knowing he/she was being libeled at the time of publication. Or if, for example, a newspaper a few years after initial publication of a possibly libelous story republished extensive parts of it.

In those circumstances a court could rule the one year “clock” for filing a libel suit began running anew when the person learned of the story or when the newspaper republished it or substantial parts of it.

Something else could possibly lead to “resetting the clock.”

If as a result of discovery, the players learn of certain actions by the N&O that they knew nothing of; and if those actions could be construed as possibly deliberately malicious, the players and others might, attorneys tell me, have cause to bring an action against the N&O.

But the attorneys stress winning such an action would require “climbing a very steep hill” for many reasons.

The most important one is that our courts give newspapers considerable leeway as regards being held libel for what they publish.

Attorneys the past three years has told me that had an individual said or written the many falsehoods about the lacrosse players which the N&O published, that individual would’ve been a prime candidate for a slander suit for what was said and/or a libel suit for what was published.

I’ll post again Sundday responding to some other comments on the thread

I thank all of you who’ve commented.



Anonymous said...

Do you think the publisher, Mr. Quarles, should explain why the N&O did what it did in late March 2006?

Karl W. said...

Hi John.

Perhaps the N&O is stonewalling so that it won't "reset the clock."

Regards -- Karl W.